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Hitting the Books

December 21, 2009 1 comment

I find that every new year I always vow I’ll do better, that I won’t procrastinate, that I’ll make better choices….and I find, every year, I’m a liar.

I find strangely enough that I didn’t know how to study. I could do homework (sometimes), I can did assigned reading(when I feel like it) but I couldn’t ‘study’. But then I figured out that it was mostly the way I was trying to study that was really the issue.  I found that if I didn’t force it and waited for the mood to come and acted on it then I would actually learn all the material in one sitting, rather then repeatedly having to go back.

Ways that I could get into the moods of studying were strangely enough, playing Sims. When I saw my little Sims working so hard and putting in effort (through my skillful guidence of course) and being rewarded it made me want to work. So if I saved my game and stopped playing and went to study right at that moment miracles would occur. This won’t work for most people, I know, BUT you should find things that inspire you to study, and when that feeling hits you, USE it. Feeling like studying and actually studying are two different species, like…. a bird and a fish.

The things I do to study are far and between but for me they work in varying degrees of success and remember your mood is a huge indicator of how successful any form of studying will be. So make sure you have an environment that you are comfortable in. I like to change it up depending on what part of studying I’m on. So just try lots of different places and gauge where you feel is most comfortable for you. I personally hate people seeing or being able to watch me be productive so if you are like me, I study around 2am if I slept a lot during the day, or during class if we aren’t doing anything I would consider productive.

You can leave any of the following steps out, I just find that I’m prepared and have an easier time getting things all organized (I love organizing things) if I do things this way. The action will be in bold text. Ways of accomplishing it will be right after. I will list ways of doing it so you can choose what works best for you and the time that you have. The time it should take you is going to be in italics. Everyone reads at different speeds so don’t get toostressed.

  1. Pre-reading. Read the chapter the teacher will be going over the night or two before. This way the information won’t be new the first time you hear it in class. You can full out read the chapter and take your own notes, outline the chapter, or just skim the chapter. It’s up to you, this step can be skipped but it is a real time saver later on, especially during midterms, or finals. 15-60 minutes.
  2. Go to class and take notes. Please note you can skip this step as you please but this is not suggested for teachers that don’t give out study guides. And if you don’t know if your teacher does or not. Find out. Make sure to take detailed notes and write down as much as you can. I know, I’ve read that you don’t have to write down everything, but my memory isn’t perfect and writing down as much as I can helps keep me interested. Also, write down as much of the stuff they say but don’t write down. I’ve found that sometimes these things end up being bonus questions or just good for helping me remember the concept. However long your class is.
  3. Join the notes. So now that you’ve gone to class or done the pre-reading, or better yet both. Put that information together. Take what you learned in class and put it together with your notes. If you typed it just change the coloring and insert it into the right areas of the book notes, and/or outline. This way you will be able to see what parts of the chapters he/she is mainly focusing on. This way when finals and midterms roll around you have your own database if you will of class notes and book notes all together and can easily read this instead of having to go back through the book to recall. 20 – 60 minutes.
  4. Do Homework. Doing homework is a good thing to do because it helps you practice for long answer or short answer problems for your exams and the whole exam if it’s math. Unless you’re teacher is giving you less than 8% do the hw. If not just do it for the chapters you don’t get or just keep it as a extra study session kind of thing. 30 – 90 minutes.

If you do this for every class you will be in great shape! Some classes don’t need this kind of studying and maybe only some parts of this you need. I know this worked for me and having it broken into time slots really helped me manage my time and I ended up having more free time a day, in opposed to when I didn’t do this. Also lots less stress since you are basically getting everything you need to do over with early. A huge perk of this is that you can never fall behind even if you get sick and have to miss class.

So good luck, and I hope this helps you out for your next semester or quarter in school. Let me know how this works out for you, Happy holidays!